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Ray Demski's icy night shoot

Red Bull Illume recently caught up with Ray Demski, finalist from the 2010 Image Quest, to discuss his latest night ice shoot...



What was the idea behind the shoot?
I wanted to bring a different look to ice climbing, lighting an entire ice fall with high quality light to bring out the magic of the ice to create some stunning images! The whole idea started to form last Autumn while shooting bouldering in the Himalaya with Bernd Zangerl and Alex Luger. We did a night highball shot with flashes that got me thinking... that would be amazing to do with Ice!


Were you hanging from a rope to get the shots? 

All of the images from above were shot while hanging from a rope anchored from the cliff above the icefall.  The other shots were done from the bridge.



How was that? 

We had very solid anchors and a backup, so pretty much daily business.


Are you a climber? 

Yes, more than anything else I love to get outside and go climbing!


How cold was it? 

Probably bottomed out around -18°c, cold enough to keep you awake!



What equipment did you use? 

Along with all the climbing and rope access gear, I used the Phase One iq180, 80 mp back on the 645DF camera with Schneider Kreuznach and Phase One lenses all packed into an F-stop Kenti for easy access.
 Lighting was entirely Broncolor, with three of the new Move 1200L battery units. We used two with the new Para 88 reflectors and one alternately with a standard reflector or bare bulb. We also had a few of the Broncolor Kobold units for working light and the video crew.



How was it shooting with the Move?

This was my first time working with the Move, with a full 1200 w/s in such a small and light package it´s a dream for location work. First time I picked it up it felt so light I had to check if the battery was really in!
 The new heads are also very small and light, making it all very portable without technical compromise.



Towards the end of the shoot, we used just one unit for the action portraits with 2 Para 88 reflectors, trying out the full asymmetrical capability of the unit, just amazing flexibility! 
The blazingly fast flash durations completely froze the water and snow as it flew through the air, like no other battery flash I´ve ever used.



Were you happy with the shots? 

Very much so!  




What's next for you? 

After this shoot I had 3 weeks straight of shooting in the mountains for commercial clients. I have some exciting plans for expeditions this year and am also looking forward to doing further episodes of the Ice nights project!



Have you entered Red Bull Illume?

I´m putting together my selection to enter Red Bull Illume at this moment! 




See the full results of Ray's cool shoot over on his website.
The featured behind the scenes video was produced by LM-Media.

© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Thomas Schermer /
© Thomas Schermer /

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Shooting the Seven Seas Expedition

Last year photographer Kelvin Trautman joined swimmer and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh as he undertook to be the first person to undertake long distance swims in each of the Seven Seas: the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Sea. This aim of the Seven Seas Expedition was to highlight the need for and importance of Marine Protected Areas. We caught up with Kelvin to discuss how the shoots went…

How did you prepare?
For this expedition, I spent a couple months doing long ocean swims to build up endurance and breath hold exercises so as to improve the time I could spend shooting underwater - in terms of the latter I had decided going into the expedition that, when shooting underwater I wanted to free dive rather than use any scuba equipment because of the flexibility it would give me.

What are some of the challenges you faced on this project?
As with most expeditions, a lack of time was our biggest challenge. Our travel schedule was really tight, leaving only two or three days in each location. This meant our shoot days were jam-packed but which also meant we had no contingency weather or logistic days to play with - we all needed a holiday after three weeks of this back-to-back schedule!

Any close shaves?
Capturing Lewis swimming between big oil tankers in the Bosphorus - the narrow stretch of water that runs through Istanbul and which joins the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara -  was a little hair-raising. On this particular shoot day we had gale force winds, cold water temps, strong currents and irate shipping owners to deal with!

How important was your participatory approach to telling the story?
Very important. I looked to swim with Lewis, my underwater housing in tow, for as long as possible during each of the 7 swims for two reasons. One, if any of you have swum before you'll know how lonely and detached this form of exercise is and so I wanted to try get the layman at home to relate to this swimmer perspective. And two, coupled with the obvious fact that the world beneath the surface looks and feels vastly different to that above, the purpose of the expedition was to raise awareness to as much beauty as well as destruction in each of the 7 Seas marine environs.   

What gear did you use?
In the water I mostly shot with Nikon D800 and a 16mm fisheye in an SPL housing.

Any tips on how to shoot with a waterproof housing?
Two things. One, remember saliva and saltwater are your two best ingredients in making a solution that prevents water droplets from sticking to your lens port. And two, remember your underwater housing is very buoyant and so if you plan on shooting below the surface then you likely to need a weight belt to keep you down.

What’s next?
Let's just say I have started to do some cold swim water training!

Check out Kelvin Trautman's Website and Instagram account!

Shooting sports events with Jesper Grønnemark

Thinking of becoming an event photographer? Join Jesper Grønnemark as he heads off to shoot a sports event – from location-scouting to gear, to positioning and final selection, find out what it takes to shoot an event and get a good idea of what you can expect! 

Visit Jesper's website or find him on Facebook.

Black and white photography in skateboarding

In this video, Red Bull Illume photographer Fred Mortagne talks us through his passion for shooting black and white film and why he prefers to capture images that are not perfect replicas of reality. Despite his passion for analog, the Leica M Monochrom has tempted him to convert to shooting black and white digital as well. 

Making of: Infrared photography

Watch Danish photographer Esben Zøllner Olesen discuss his basic workflow when shooting infrared images with an IR-converted DSLR camera. Infrared photography may seem quite daunting, but Esben Zøllner Olesen delivers insight and tips for every stage of the process, right from gear setup to post-processing to create a nice overview of the technique which can capture some stunning results.  

Photo credits: Esben Zøllner Olesen

© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull

The Dark Night: a 3D-printed sequence

Red Bull Illume photographer Dan Vojtěch has spent the last 4-5 months working on a 3D-printed miniature model of a wakeboarder sequence shot. The project has finally been released – and Dan explains how it all went down: 

“I was doing a personal project for 3DGang print company and I saw a creative opportunity with this technology!

First, I had the idea to have shoot with a small 3D-printed figure – but soon the idea developed into a sequence shot. I phoned wakeboarder Zuzana Vrablova, who loved the idea and came to Prague.

We planned the concept together and decided to shoot 8 or 9 different poses for different moments of the sequence. As each ‘frame’ of the sequence had to be shot individually, Suzanna had to imagine what the correct position was – we had a big screen so she could check her body position was correct after each shot!

Afterwards, we printed the models – I was surprised at how much handiwork was required – the figures were fragile and also needed a kind of glue to make them harden. We also added colours, of course. 
The finishing touches came in building a cityscape at night and we also threw in the dry ice to create the moody smoky effect!”

Check out the BTS images below on how it all went down!

© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch

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